Showing posts from July, 2004

2004 Presidential Election

How Stuff Works has an excellent article on the issues being debated in the 2004 presidential election cycle, as well as a synopsis of each of the major candidates positions and voting records. For somebody like me, who has trouble keeping all of the issues straight and organized in my mind, this web page is an excellent reference.

Hate Groups

As we walked toward Kemper Arena for the Van Halen concert this past Monday, we witnessed the usual site of Fred Phelp's anti-gay hate group members picketing.  There were about 10 people holding signs that were disgusting.  I was surprised when Mark said that he had never seen them protesting before.  I have personally seen them on numerous occasions.  Every time I pass by them I get agitated, which is what they are trying to provoke.  They actually have a website dedicated to their hateful message. 

After the concert, during our meal at Denny's, Mark remarked about how similar this group is to the Ku Klux Klan.  I had never thought of that.  It is true.  Both groups thrive on hate.  They try to spread a message of hate.  What bothers me the most is that they claim that God hates sinful individuals.  I cannot accept that God hates anyone.  God may hate sin, and certain behaviors, but I don't believe that God hates any particular person.  I believe that God loves everyone…


--Well, it is now August 18. I began the below post on July 29, but never got around to completing it. I'll post it anyway. I'm tired of it sitting around as an uposted entry.--

I can't believe it is nearly the end of July. This month has flashed by quickly. I feel like I have gotten some key projects accomplished in July. At least I have made progress on some projects. I'm going to list out my monthly goals that I assembled at the beginning of the month, and some commentary on how I feel I've pursued each goal. Unlike the previous couple of months, I did not priortize my July goals. I never got around to it. Not exactly proactive. I do think that prioritizing helped me in previous months, and I will prioritize my August goals. Here are my July goals:

1. Vocabulary: This is a persistent goal of mine from month to month. I never seem to spend as much time learning and practicing words as I would like to. I have experimented with different methods of l…

Van Halen Concert

Sharon, Mark, Lynae and I went to the Van Halen concert at Kemper Arena last night.  Since Sheri wasn't feeling well, Mark asked Lynae to go.  The concert was excellent.  It was loud.  The band played all of their classic songs, a few new songs and each member of the band had a solo.  Eddie, of course, demonstrated his mastery over the six-string once again.  Simply stated, that guy can do some amazing things with a guitar.  Eddie's son Wolfgang joined him onstage, and played duet with him toward the end of his solo.  He appeared to be about 15 years old, but that is just a guess.  Eddie introduced him as the "future", and gave him a big hug and a kiss after the solo, and again after the show.  Sammy Hagar was his usual self, pumping energy into the crowd and leading what must be one of the greatest live bands in the world.  We all remarked afterward how every member of the band always looks like they are enjoying themselves onstage, smiling, laughing and playing jok…

Welcome, Sharon, to the Blogosphere

Hi everyone!  Please welcome my wonderful wife Sharon to the blogosphere.  Visit her page often, because she is an excellent writer!!

Acapulco Mexican restaurant

This afternoon, Sharon and I went to Acapulco Mexican restaurant in North Kansas City, located just north of the Heart of America bridge.

I had a lunch special with 2 tacos, a tamale and a tostida.  The price for this combination was a little over $5.  Not bad, but I was disappointed that it cost extra for beans, rice or even cheese on the tacos (which I didn't want anyway).  Sharon did want cheese on her tacos, and I thought that it was excessive for them to be charging for cheese.  We both enjoyed our food.  The chips were free, but came in small bowls.  This was probably good for our diets, as we couldn't shove them in as fast.  The salsa was in a ketchup bottle, and didn't come with a bowl.  That made it hard to eat the chips.  We ended up using Sharon's empty rice bowl for our salsa bowl, because our waitress forgot to bring the bowl that we asked for.  Other than that, our waitress was satisfactory.  She was pleasant, and fairly attentive. 

The building itself …

A Tale of Two Delis: Nonni's and The Pumpernickle

Last week, Sharon and I visited Nonni's Deli in North Kansas City for lunch.  This past Wednesday, Sharon, Lynae and I ate lunch at The Pumpernickle Deli, also in North Kansas City.  Both of the restaurants are located along Armour Road, and are actually quite close to each other.

Nonni's Deli is a small restaurant, with a small kitchen.  However, the line at the lunch counter was long, and the food was quite good.  I think it was Nonni herself working the counter, taking our orders.  I was in the middle of the strict phase of the South Beach diet, so much of the menu was off limits to me, and indeed I ended up ordering a sandwich that was against my diet rules anyway.  I ordered the Chicken Parmesan.  Nonni informed me that she made her own red sauce for the sandwich.  Indeed, it was an excellent tasting sandwich.  However, I thought it was a little bit overpriced at $5, for not coming with any side dish like chips, fries or fruit.  There were side salads available to order,…


Metabolism is a concept that has often confused me. So, I consulted WebMD to get a better understanding of it.

Metabolism is the way the body burns up all of the calories from the food that is eaten.

Metabloism is a complex process that includes all of the chemical reactions that take place in the body to keep the organs working and to keep one alive.

The speed at which the body burns up calories is the metabolic rate. I higher metabolic rate is desierable for weight control. Unfortunately, with age, our metabolic rates tend to slow down.

One way to increase our metabolic rate is to drink a lot of water.

From MayoClinic.Com: Metabolism is the complex biochemical process by which the food one eats is converted into the energy the body needs to function. "Because people who weigh more have more muscle as well as fat, overweight people usually have an increased metabolic rate, contrary to popular belief." --Well, this statement seems to contradict the information from Web…

The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki

I just read an article that was posted on my Blogger dashboard by Biz Stone. It was about the book titled "The Wisdom of Crowds", by James Surowiecki. Evidently, Surowiecki, who writes for the New Yorker according to Publisher's Weekly, argues that the wisdom of a crowd is 'wiser' than the wisdom of any individual member, if certain conditions are met. This is interesting. I have heard of the phrase "The Madness of Crowds", I think most notably in Burton Malkeil's book "A Random Walk Down Wall-Street". That book explained crowd irrationality as the basis for stock market bubbles and subsequent crashes. This new book looks interesting, and I would like to read it. Also according to Publishers Weekly, it contains introductions to behavioral economics and game theory.

On another note, as I was writing this, I was/am trying to remember the relationship between efficient markets and rationality/irrationality. Does irrational behavior …

Rent, The Musical

I have been wanting to write about Rent for the past week, but I am just now getting around to it. Sharon, Melissa and I attended a Rent performance at the Music Hall in Kansas City on June 27. This was the evening of the Sunday of our camping trip to Wallace State Park.

Rent is a musical composed by Jonathan Larson, who wrote the music, lyrics and the book that have won multiple awards, including the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical. Unfortunately, Mr. Larson died previous to the show being released off Broadway, and prior to receiving any of the major awards. The story is a modern day tale based on the opera La Boheme.

Rent, set in New York City's East Village, is about a group of 20 to 30 something artists dealing with life. Several of the characters have AIDS, some are homosexual and all seem to have at least one quality that would qualify them as "dysfunctional". There is a cross-dressing transvestite, a gay computer genius, a struggling musician and several other…


I have recently finished reading Beowulf. Actually, I am still reading the book that the poem came with, but I have read the poem itself in its entirety. I read the Norton Critical Edition translated by Seamus Heaney, the contemporary Irish poet. There is quite a bit of commentary included in the book, which I enjoy reading, even though it is sometimes difficult to comprehend. At the present moment, I am reading a critical essay written by J.R.R. Tolkein around 1937. He is arguing for the poetic merits of Beowulf.

The poem itself was not too long, and it did not take me long to read the whole thing. I don't have any other copy to compare it to, but I think Heaney's translation was good, making the poem flow well in modern English language. I was able to comprehend the main storylines running through the poem, which is not always easy for me, especially with a translated work.

Beowulf was a hero of the Geat nation/tribe. The book/poem portrays Beowulf in three major a…

Fourth of July, 2004

Yesterday, Sharon and I hosted a Fourth of July picnic. Guests in attendance were my mom & dad, Sharon's mom & dad, Lynae, Mark and Sheri. Melissa showed up toward the end of the picnic. It was a small crowd, but that is the way that I wanted it to be. There are not as many people to have to try to entertain when the crowd is small.

Sharon and I grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and bratwurts, and Sharon made some side dishes containing baked beans, sour cream, mayonaise and possibly other evil materials. I cooked a few turkey burgers, much to my mother's chagrin. She advised me to keep the turkey burgers away from everything else on the grill. I complied, or at least I tried to comply, since I know first hand what it is like to be obsessively picky over eating certain foods.

Jim, Mark, Dad and I played a few games of horseshoes. Dad made several ringers, just like he did when we played up at Jim and Alice's house on Mother's Day. He said that he is ready…

Link Sample

I am trying to learn how to put links to other pages in my posts, so this post is to test myself. I am hoping that I can configure this post to allow a user to navigate to the Pittsburgh Pirates homepage by clicking here.

Beowulf Vocabulary

Here are some words that I've marked for study from my edition of Beowulf, A Verse Translation, translated by Seamus Heaney:

throng (n)-a large crowd or multitude.--(v.i.)assemble in large numbers.--(v.t.)fill with a crowd. Eg: Happiness came back, the hall was thronged, and a banquet set forth.

alacrity (n)-cheerful willingness; eager promptitude. Eg: If I can do anything more for you, I shall act, my lord, with alacrity.

gannet (n)-a large sea bird. Eg: Across the gannet's bath, over the broad sea, whorled prows will bring presents and tokens.

whorl (n)-a spiral or coil-shaped part or pattern. Eg: See above (gannet).

prow (n)-the foremost surface of a ship; bow. Eg: See above (gannet).

hull (n)-1, the body of a ship, exclusive of masts and other superstructure. 2, the fuselage of a seaplane. 3, the shell, husk, etc. of a nut fruit, or grain.--(v.t.)remove the hull of. Eg: Then the broad hull was beached on the sand to be cargoed with treasure, horses and war-gear.



This past Tuesday, Sharon and I continued our tour of North Kansas City eating establishments at Juanitos, located on Armour Road. Juanitos is a small Mexican restaurant. I was happy to learn that we had chosen to visit on Taco Tuesday.

The menu had all of the normal Mexican choices, but it seemed to lack on lunch specialties or combination plates. For example, my tacos did not come with any rice or beans. I ordered 4 tacos, which was enough for me, since we also had chips, salsa and an appetizer cheese dip. Our total bill was approximately $25 with the tip.

Our waitress was pleasant, and prompt. According to the menu, only the first basket of chips was on the house, but she kept bringing us chip refills for free. The chips and salsa were good. Sharon wasn't crazy about the salsa, and it wasn't the best I've ever had, but it was satisfactory. Both Sharon and I liked the cheese dip, which I thought was similar to the cheese dip at 54th Street.

The restaurant …